>Browne Report fails to take in true value of University

>Lord Browne has today unleashed his report into Higher Education funding, and most of it doesn’t make pleasant reading. It asks for uncapped tuition fees, and advocates the introduction of a market system. If his findings were to be accepted in their purest form they would undoubtedly create a two tier system, and deter those from poorer backgrounds from going to university.

Browne’s facts and figures though don’t even come close to assessing the true value of a university education. He seems to think Higher Education Institutions are simply degree sausage factories, churning out people with qualifications. He neglects anything that doesn’t happen in the lecture hall; societies, sports, socialising with people you would never normally have met. Of course achieving high academic standards is the main point of university. However, this is being written in a cafe at Birmingham University, venue for a large student protest today, and looking around it is so clear how much more the students will gain from their time here.

By introducing a system that would prevent access to thousands, Lord Browne would reduce the diversity and vitality of university communities. Most people who get to enjoy the full university experience contribute more, in varying ways, to our society. What price can he put on that?

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